NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
September 26, 1994
IN RE: Laura Fulcher/Kentucky State Police
OPEN RECORDS DECISION
Ms. Laura Fulcher challenges the denial of her June 17, 1994, request for a copy of the written policy and procedures for complying with the provisions of KRS 403.715 to 403.785 established by the Kentucky State Police pursuant to KRS 403.785(4). On behalf of the Kentucky State Police, Ms. Diane Smith, Official Custodian of Records, denied Ms. Fulcher's request, advising her that the Kentucky State Police Manual "consists of inter-agency documents setting forth policies and recommendations of a sensitive nature which may imperil personal and public security." In support of this position, Ms. Smith cited OAG 79-546, OAG 83-337, OAG 86-38; and OAG 92-112.
In her letter of appeal to this Office, Ms. Fulcher argues that her request "does not involve preliminary opinions, preliminary recommendations, interoffice memoranda, inter- agency documents, or anything that would imperil the life of an officer." Continuing, she observes:
I only want to know where in KSP written policy it says the officer must provide and verify domestic violence petition forms, and present them to the judge or trial commis- sioner in accordance with the 41st Judicial District domestic violence EPO procedures.
To facilitate our review, Ms. Fulcher furnished this Office with a copy of the 41st Judicial District Emergency Protective Orders procedures.
We are asked to determine if KSP properly relied on KRS 61.878(1)(i) and the cited authorities in denying Ms. Fulcher's request. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that KSP improperly denied her request.
In OAG 79-546, this Office dealt with issues similar to those raised in this appeal. It is instructive to quote that opinion at length:
Although the sensitive nature of the procedure manual of a detention center is easily recognized, there is no statute which expressly exempts records of such a nature. However, this office has consistently recognized that intra-office communications are exempt from mandatory disclosure by KRS 61.878(1)(h). A public agency whose function does not involve the peril which goes with a detention center operation may have a policy of making its procedure manuals available to the public when it believes it is in the public interest to do so. On the other hand, we believe that a detention center, jail or prison is fully authorized to forbid disclosure of documents which set forth procedure involving the security of the facility. General business records, however, do not come under this exemption.
OAG 79-546, p. 3.
In OAG 86-38, this logic was extended to the operations manual of a police department. At page 4 of that opinion, we reasoned:
The operations manual of a police depart- ment, like the operations manual of a jail and a state correctional facility, . . . involves people in potentially perilous situations who are attempting to protect themselves, the public and the entities they serve. Elements such as personal and public security and administrative order are involved.
We therefore reaffirmed our decision relative to the operations manuals of agencies "whose function . . . involve[s] peril ...."
OAG 79-546, p. 3. We believe that OAG 79-546 and OAG 86-38 are distinguishable from this appeal. While the operations manual of a law enforcement agency, and discreet portions thereof, are in general exempt pursuant to KRS 61.878(1)(i) because they are intra-agency documents setting forth policies and recommenda- tions of a sensitive nature, those portions of the state police manual implicated by Ms. Fulcher's request do not appear to contain policies and recommendations of a sensitive nature which may imperil personal and public security.
Pursuant to KRS 403.785(4), law enforcement agencies must establish written policies and procedures for complying with KRS 403.715 to 403.785, relating to domestic violence and abuse. The policy must include, but is apparently not limited to:
[P]urpose statements; definitions; supervi- sory responsibilities; procedures for twenty-four(24) hour access to protective orders; procedures for enforcement of court orders or relief when protective orders are violated; procedures for timely and contemporaneous reporting of adult abuse and domestic violence to the Cabinet for Human Resources, Department for Social Services; victims rights, assistance and service responsibilities; and duties related to timely completion of records.
We have reviewed the relevant portions of the state police manual and find nothing in those documents which implicate security interests. Much of the manual consists of a recitation of the law on domestic violence and abuse found at Chapter 403 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes. The remainder deals with procedures for dealing with various situations and reporting requirements. It is therefore the opinion of this Office that written law enforcement policies relating to domestic violence and abuse do not implicate personal and public security, and that KSP's denial of Ms. Fulcher's request is not supported by the provisions of KRS 61.878(1)(i).
The Kentucky State Police may challenge this decision by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court. Although he must be notified of any action in circuit court,
the Attorney General shall not be named as a party in that action, or in any subsequent proceedings. KRS 61.880(3).
AMYE B. MAJORS
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Ms. Diane H. Smith
Official Custodian of Records
Kentucky State Police
919 Versailles Road
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Hon. Laura P. Fulcher
Attorney at Law
P. O. Box 471
McKee, Kentucky 40447